All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Wednesday criticised the Congress and said that the party was equally responsible for the demolition of the 16th-century Babri Mosque, reported ANI. He criticised other “secular parties” and claimed they had been completely exposed, as the foundation ceremony of a Ram temple took place in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, earlier in the day.
Owaisi also hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that he had violated his oath of office by attending the ceremony in Ayodhya. “India is a secular country,” he said. “This is the day of the defeat of democracy and secularism and success of Hindutva.”
Modi on Wednesday participated in the foundation stone laying ceremony to formally launch the construction of a Ram temple in Ayodhya, 28 years after the demolition of the Babri Masjid mosque at the same site. The prime minister laid a symbolic 40-kg silver brick in the sanctum sanctorum, or innermost sanctuary, to mark the start of the temple construction.
In reference to Modi’s remarks on it being an emotional day, the AIMIM chief said he was also feeling emotional as he believed in “coexistence and equality of citizenship”. “Mr Prime Minister, I am emotional because a mosque stood there for 450 years,” he added.
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Owaisi said the prime minister had failed to uphold the Constitution and that his attendance at the Ayodhya event represented the “victory of Hindutva over secularism”. “Today is a victory of majoritarianism over liberty and equality,” he said, according to PTI. “By attending, the prime minister has not only laid the foundation of a Mandir, but also the foundation of a Hindu Rashtra.”
Meanwhile, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the Congress was following the “soft Hindutva” of Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao. “I don’t think Congress has any stand when it comes to secularism,” he was quoted as saying by ANI. “There is nothing new in Rahul or Priyanka Gandhi’s stand on Ayodhya.”
The Indian Union Muslim League, an ally of the Congress, passed a resolution criticising Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’s statement on the Ram temple ceremony, PTI reported. The Congress leader had said on Tuesday that she hoped the ceremony would become an occasion to celebrate India’s unity, fraternity and cultural congregation.
In his address at the Ram temple ceremony, the prime minister claimed that just as August 15 symbolised the end of India’s freedom struggle, August 5 was the culmination of the fight for a Ram temple for centuries.
Several politicians across party lines welcomed the temple’s construction. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the deity Ram “can never appear in hate”. Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal congratulated the people of the country and said that the deity’s blessings “will get rid of hunger, illiteracy and poverty” and that India would become the most powerful nation in the world.
Some social media users also agreed with Owaisi’s accusations against other political parties.